Virginia Men's Basketball

Recruiting Rundown

Normally, August is sort of the quiet time between storms in recruiting. Not so much this year. With it becoming more evident that prospects won’t be allowed to visit campuses this Fall, everything seems to be moving at once. Commitments are happening more frequently. Hopefully one of those will go our way soon. In the meantime, here’s what we learned this week.

Kiwi Countdown

New Zealander Taine Murray released a final three last weekend of Virginia, Maryland, and Stanford. There’s no clear time table for a decision. When a homegrown recruit puts out a short list like that, it’s usually over for all intents and purposes. Who knows if that’s the case with a Kiwi. All three programs have connections to people around him. Maryland and Stanford have been at it longer, but our ties might be stronger. It was also reported this week that he’ll play for the New Zealand Breakers next season in the Australian NBL, unpaid to keep his college eligibility. That’s a positive sign for our side. It rules out the possibility of early enrollment, an angle others had been working.

To Offer or Not

It looks like Virginia will pass on Ben Gregg. The forward from Oregon set his commitment announcement for September 9th. He doesn’t have an offer and no longer mentions UVA among the schools recruiting him hardest as he did a couple weeks ago. You could interpret that as Bennett feeling good about other recruits. And I do think that’s true to an extent. UVA feels they’re in better position than many believe for Trey Kaufman, and are still in the hunt for Efton Reid. Mostly, Gregg wasn’t offered because they just weren’t sure about him without any real opportunity to evaluate.

West Nassau (FL) guard Deebo Coleman had his second Zoom call with Tony Bennett this week. Things are obviously picking up with him. Still no offer though. On the surface, it’s identical to where things stood with Gregg two weeks ago. Only, Deebo is playing in some competitive AAU events including this weekend. Bennett can’t be there in-person the way he’d like, but he can watch online. That’s as good as it’ll get for some time. The recent offer from Auburn was one Deebo really wanted. Georgia Tech has worked hard too, making the kind of playing time promises that UVA and others can’t match.

Virginia was among the many that contacted former Louisville commit Bryce Hopkins. He’s another name to track, but it’s unlikely UVA will be a factor. His new availability could be an indirect help, however. Indiana is believed to be a top contender. If he were to move in that direction quickly, it would help our chances with Trey Kaufman.

Rising Juniors

Summer is usually when fans start learning which rising juniors their team will recruit. Even if some offers don’t come until later, we know who’s being evaluated by which AAU games the head coach attends. It’s harder to piece together this year. There’s still AAU events being held though, and coaches are watching via online streams. I listed 15 early names to know back in June. Well, here’s a few more we should probably start paying attention to that have seen their stocks rise this summer.

Bennett recently held a virtual meeting with San Antonio PG Austin Nunez. UVA reportedly watched his event this weekend, and it’s not the first time. He’s the son of a coach, known for being a true floor general. A lefty with a sweet stroke too. He fits the mold Bennett likes. There’s some real smoke here that he could be one of those guys we’ll be talking about for the next year. With Jalen Warley out of the picture, there’s nothing holding back point guard offers to the ’22 class. Same goes for closer-to-home potential targets Jayden Epps and Rodney Rice.

Forward Isaac Traudt out of Nebraska has been posting some eye-popping AAU stats. It’s not coming against the best of competition, but he’s caught UVA’s attention. They’ve been in contact, and have watched on streams including his 35-point effort over the weekend. Offers have poured in from the likes of Stanford, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame. I think he projects more as a power forward or even small-ball center at this level than the small forward he’s listed as. Barring something very unexpected in ’21, Virginia should be in the market for that type of player

Christ School (NC) forward DeAnte Green has been dominant in limited AAU action, and he’s doing it against some quality opponents. Kansas, Louisville, and Baylor highlight his recent offers. Virginia reached out to him on opening day, June 15th. They had to have liked what they’ve seen since.

Finishing up with another big man, Kyle Filipowski is one to know. A New Yorker who attends prep school in Massachusetts, his recruitment has quickly gone national. UCLA, Purdue, and Notre Dame are among his early offers. Same story here. Virginia has been in contact, and tuned in for his AAU scrimmage recently. He’s a unique talent, a stretch big.

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